Do Dental Assistants Clean Teeth?
Dental assistants, similar to medical assistants, support the administrative functions of a dentist’s office. Their responsibilities typically include maintaining records and databases, sterilizing dental tools, cleaning the office, taking care of patient scheduling, preparing equipment, among other tasks.
Find out more about this fast-growing profession in today’s blog.
A Day in the Life of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are the “face” of a dentist’s office. They’re the first person to greet you when you arrive at your appointment, and they’re usually the last person you speak to when you leave. However, a dental assistant is more than a welcoming face. Here’s a list of their responsibilities.
- Ensuring the patient is comfortable in the chair before the dentist arrives.
- Sterilizing all dental equipment
- Using a suction to keep a patient’s mouth dry during procedures
- Teaching patients about adequate hygiene, which includes making it fun for children
- Monitoring equipment and handing instruments to the dentist during procedures
As you can see, dental assistants have a full schedule. Continue reading to learn more.
Does a Dental Assistant Perform a Dentist’s Duties?
Dental assistants receive training to do basic oral health procedures, but they can’t perform invasive ones. By law, they can’t clean teeth because this practice requires specialized oral health training. Furthermore, they can’t perform any task that would require them to use a drill or dental prick.
Aspiring dental assistants shouldn’t feel discouraged because they already balance a large workload. Not to mention, dental assistants are usually the reason why many patients return to a certain clinic because of their warm, memorable personalities. One of the best parts about this profession is the opportunity for growth, so many assistants work their way up to becoming a dentist. Best of all, those who aspire to become a dentist will already have an advantage by having first-hand experience at a dental clinic.
That being said, a dental assistant’s duties vary state by state. For example, in Missouri, dental assistants can perform X-rays, whereas those in Utah must have a certificate in radiography before they can take on this task. Other states allow dental assistants to be classified as expanded-function dental assistants (EFDA). They’re permitted to do more hands-on work with patients, such as administering nitrous oxide, polishing teeth, applying sealants and fluoride, and more.
To learn more about your state’s rules, the Dental Assisting National Board has a detailed list of each state’s requirements.
Are Dental Assistants in Demand?
Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow by 11 percent this decade, making this the fastest-growing career in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A few decades ago, dentists were responsible for managing all the tasks a dental assistant does. Nowadays, every dentist needs an assistant by their side to maintain an efficient office.
Ready to Learn? Contact Dental Fundamentals School of Dental Assisting
If you’re looking for a stable yet flexible career, then dental assisting may be right for you. At Dental Fundamentals School of Dental Assisting, we provide one of the most hands-on training programs available in a 10-week format. Our students attend two evening classes each week for ten weeks to graduate.
Our campus is located in Salt Lake City. Schedule a facility tour today.